Despite the misconception some people hold, whitepapers aren’t antiquated relative to conventional content marketing strategies.
In fact, the importance of providing in-depth information and education to buyers conducting their investigations makes whitepapers vital in developing and nurturing sales leads.
Especially when you consider that “74 percent of B2B buyers research at least one-half of their work purchases online”, according to Forrester’s US B2B eCommerce Forecast: 2015 to 2020, and that “67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally” (SiriusDecisions).
Megan Heuer, Vice President Research at SiriusDecisions also clarified that statement saying “Marketers, your mission is to help sellers get engaged early with customers and prospects by supporting them with enablement in the form of messages, content and other tools.”
With that in mind, here are some of the primary benefits of quality whitepapers and reasons why they are necessary to include in your content marketing plans.
Education is Valued
The relationship between inbound and outbound marketing has changed. Companies now rely on inbound strategies to set the stage for effective, engaging outbound communication.
Poorly targeted, ineffective and inefficient cold contacts are a thing of the past for successful firms. Instead, you need to target prospects with personalised messages that follow an educational experience.
Whitepapers allow you to provide in-depth, informative and educational content at the time people are looking.
Typical B2B buyers do some information-gathering and compare providers before the first interaction with a seller. They want to learn!
Establish Thought Leadership
Firstly, let’s define what ‘Thought Leadership is.
Think of Thought Leadership as Content Marketing, which the Content Marketing Institute defines as “A marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Because of the tremendous competition in many industries, you need to establish yourself as a thought leader to earn credibility among buyers.
As they are much longer and more in-depth than blog posts, whitepapers are a key component to establishing thought leadership.
You can show off your expertise, while at the same time, helping buyers to understand the various facets of your solutions that should impact their purchase decision.
Today’s buyers don’t have time to sit and listen to 10 pitches from 10 different suppliers.
You need to get ahead of your competition, and whitepapers is an excellent way to do that.
Imagine being able to offer something that doesn’t say, “Hey, look what we can do…”, but rather “Hey, I’d like to share something with you that will help you…”
Point to Your Products and Solutions
Bear in mind that whitepapers, as part of a content marketing strategy, set the stage for a call-to-action or sales call.
Collecting the information of those who download your valued content drives new sales leads.
Therefore, a primary goal is to point buyers towards your solutions.
Whitepapers allow you to lay out your particular view on the problems faced by buyers.
You can then connect the dots to the benefits of your solution, and subtly guide readers to your product landing pages.
When a sales rep does make an initial call, the buyer understands your primary value proposition.
This awareness puts your sales reps in a better position to ask questions, address concerns and focus on the most important points.
Support Your Statements
Whitepapers are also a great place to integrate graphs, charts, tables, facts and stats that support your claims.
While you can include some of these items in a blog post, your blog is usually designed to capture attention and drive awareness.
Whitepapers that include testimonials and experiential statements are another great addition to help convince a buyer that your solution can address their requirements.
Let your satisfied clients support your story by sharing with readers how your solutions have benefited them.
Don’t operate with the wrong mindset on whitepapers. Make sure you have your digital assets working as hard as you are.
Your buyers take them very seriously, as evidenced by recent industry studies showing that 90 percent of B2B buyers consult a whitepaper before contacting a vendor.
Imagine how your business is adversely affected if you aren’t on the front lines of content marketing where much of the investigative action takes place.
For more reading on this subject, read “This is How Whitepapers Can Boost Your Sales Strategy“.
[We work with some of the largest industry publishers such as Madison Logic – and we do it so well, they acquired our company!]
So contact us to learn more about getting your content, including whitepapers, in the hands of your top targets with our content syndication program so you can generate more sales leads.